Letter to the Editor: Sincerely, BSU, LACOS, SASA, BASA & APASA

“Bucknell will foster a campus environment that recognizes the impact of power and privilege while addressing historical and emerging barriers to equity and inclusion.”
– The Plan for Bucknell 2025

 

To the Affiliates, Supporters, Board Members and Governing Body of the Bucknell Program for American Leadership and Citizenship (BPALC):

Diversity is a reality, and the development of the capacity to understand and critique diverse ideas is a critical component of education. However, under the guise of promoting and protecting “viewpoint diversity” on Bucknell University’s campus, BPALC has propagated inherently racist and sexist ideas that isolate and oppress your fellow students, peers and colleagues. The rhetoric surrounding your mission centers on your belief that the “particularly conservative, classical liberal, culturally traditional, or other ‘off-diagonal’ views” that you support are being silenced in the world of elite academia, and radical, overtly emotional leftism. While we will not judge your premise here, we are writing to highlight that your methods and tactics are divisive and inflammatory and that your approach is imprudent and ultimately unproductive.

Targeted hate speech, thinly veiled as “free speech,” has had fatal implications on the lives and livelihood of minority groups, with which we identify, since the very founding of our country. The bigoted ideas, political agendas and rhetoric that you spotlight through expensive speaker series on campus already surround us from the Executive Office of our Government to the intimate spaces of our classrooms. It is not our perception that you have been silenced, but we wonder why conservative intellectuals would align themselves with provocateurs and bigots to be “heard.” We hear it when Heather MacDonald condemns the effort made by the Black Lives Matter Movement to address police brutality. We hear it when Victor Davis Hansen continues to encourage the targeting of young Black men by police forces, even in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder. We hear it when Amy Wax attempts to stir race-based fear by equating a modern-day embrace of multiculturalism to American regression. But loudest and most clearly of all we hear you – our fellow Bucknellians, who, through promoting these ideas uncritically, make it clear to us that you see us as outsiders in a place that is our home as much as it is yours.

You have asked of your following: “Have [University Campuses] become havens for censorship where ‘political correctness’ run amok?” In response, we ask of you, are University Campuses still a place where fact, context and truth are valued, taught and treasured? Where empathy, understanding and respect are honored? You cannot talk about Black-on-Black crime and gang culture without talking about centuries of enslavement, Jim Crow, redlining and the prison-industrial-complex. You cannot talk about immigration policy and border security without talking about neoliberalism, automation, the military-industrial complex, xenophobia and racism. You cannot talk about the outrage people feel about sexual assault, rape and the #MeToo Movement without talking about gender-based power dynamics, victim-blaming, patriarchal authority and sexism. In sum, you cannot critique the unwanted effects of systematic oppression without addressing their root causes and your role — passive or active — in them.

When one is accustomed to privilege, perhaps equality feels like oppression. You have power in society and on our campus — why not contribute something meaningful to our university environment and to our world in an uplifting way and not as a zero-sum game? As a collective, we have wasted too much time, energy and money giving a platform to groups and individuals who believe a person’s value is contingent on their race, gender or nationality. Ultimately, we hope that by expressing our concern to you directly and respectfully that we can encourage you to choose methods that are less divisive and that can foster greater mutual understanding. Otherwise, you are just lighting tiki torches.

Sincerely,

The Black Student Union (BSU) (President: Eden Elam)

The Latinx Alliance for Community and Opportunity for Students (LACOS) (President: Leslie Galvez)

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) (President: Amisha Chhetri)

The Bucknell African Student Association (BASA) (President: Nnamdi Unachukwu)

The Asian Pacific American Student Association (APASA) (President: Grace Chung)

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